Mainstream media only ever addresses Israeli racism indirectly, if at all. An issue that has received less than its fair share of media coverage is the document prepared by European embassies in Israel asserting the “importance of regarding Israel’s treatment of its Arab population as a substantive issue, and not one that is secondary to the Palestine-Israel Conflict.” According to the Palestinian leadership inside Israel, the document includes formal proposals against the racist draft laws frequently discussed in the Israeli parliament which discriminate against Palestinians.
The Israeli government considered that as the document raised sensitive issues, it constituted an interference in its internal affairs. It also seriously criticized certain European ambassadors in Tel Aviv for preparing the document. Of course, the Palestinian leadership in Israel welcomed it. MK Hanin Zoubi attributed the document to the work and role played by the Palestinian leadership in Israel in meeting with foreign ambassadors, political attachés and international governments, informing them about the persecution and racism experienced by Palestinians in Israel.
Dr Thabet Abu Ras, director of the Israeli human rights organization, the Adala Center, asserted a similar sentiment describing the document as “the fruit of the ongoing work of human rights organizations, political parties and Arab leaders in presenting and addressing the issues of Palestinian society inside Israel, to the international arena.”
Of course, we are aware of Israel’s racism against Palestinians inside Israel as the issue has been brought to the table on more than one level. However, what is striking this time is that discrimination has reached such an extent that even ‘friends of Israel’ could not but criticize the blatant racism suffered by Palestinians inside Israel.
This suffering is not confined to one aspect of their daily lives. It affects everything including; political, economic, cultural and social affairs. Since the establishment of the Zionist state, the codification of racist laws in the Knesset has been on-going with the aim of making them a “way of life.” The progressive Jewish historian, Ilan Pappe, and author of ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians’ asserts that the aim is to make the lives of Palestinians in Israel so difficult and complicated that it becomes a living hell, and thus cause young people, in particular, to escape it by migrating to other countries. Given the many facilities for this migration by international embassies in Tel Aviv, Pappe goes on to state that although it is difficult for Israel to transfer the Arabs as it did in 1948, their goals have become clear even to their ‘friends.’
Israeli racism is not limited to the Palestinians only, it is also being experienced by Eastern Jews, including immigrants from Arab countries, and against the Falashas, as they are considered lower than Western Jews. These in turn are divided into Jewish immigrants from Western European countries and immigrants from Eastern European countries, the latter being considered of a lower status than the Western immigrants.
As such, we are not surprised when Orthodox Jews from groups such as the Neturei Karta, who believe, on religious grounds, that the creation of a state for the Jews was a mistake, describe Israel as being similar to Nazi Germany. Last week, dressed in their traditional attire, thousands of Jews from the Neturei Karta organized a demonstration at the “Saturday” arena in Tel Aviv. They complained of the brutal persecution they experienced at the hands of the Israeli authorities and the Zionist media’s incitement against them. Some of them, including children, wore clothes resembling those worn by prisoners of Nazi concentration camps, with stripes next to yellow stars comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.
Of course, the Israeli authorities were outraged and several counter demonstrations condemning them were held in various cities. Criticism of the group was widespread and included censure from Avner Shalev, director of the Holocaust Memorial and Research Institute, Yad Vashem, as well as the Israeli Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, and others. Unfortunately, these events are not covered extensively by the mainstream media and remain known except to limited external circles and by those interested in Israeli’s internal affairs; a fact which underscores the extent of Zionist influence on the international media.
All that is left to say is that Israel’s racism has begun to reveal its true nature, even to its friends. The initiative of the European ambassadors in Tel Aviv is part of this exposure; surely the truth cannot be hidden forever.
The author is a Palestinian writer. His article is translated from the Arabic which appeared in, Al Watan newspaper, Oman, 08/01/2012
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.